It’s been a successful four years for Deanne Dawe, who operates her business, Tidy Solutions, from an office in Clarke’s Beach.
Dawe is one of several women from the Conception Bay North area to get nominated for a prestigious award from the Newfoundland and Labrador Organization of Women Entrepreneurs (NLOWE). Two others are Natalie Austin and Shannon Doyle, both of Carbonear.
For the second year in a row, Dawe has been notified she is in the running for the Youth Entrepreneur of the Year award, an award for successful young entrepreneurs under 35, who operate a profitable business.
Tidy Solutions has been steadily gaining popularity for those looking to build new homes, mainly because Dawe produces custom house plans.
As a certified interior designer — not to be confused with an interior decorator — Dawe uses drafting software to assist clients to design their “dream home,” whether it be through renovations or a new build.
Her interest in designing came at a young age, when she recognized a skill many other children didn’t have.
“When I was a kid, and the other kids were drawing hopscotch (on the pavement), I was drawing house plans,” Dawe told The Compass in a phone interview June 10.
The bumpy road
At 34 years old, this is Dawe’s last year to qualify for the youth award. She will be 35 before the winners are announced. But it hasn’t been a quick road to get where she is.
While attending a three-year technology diploma program at the College of the North Atlantic after high school, Dawe was forced to leave school before completing the third year of her diploma because of a medical diagnosis of an ovarian tumour.
After she left school, she relocated to Ontario, where she had family. But after working her way up to assistant manager at a sports apparel store, she realized she needed more to her life. That is when she enrolled in Humber College, where she completed the interior design program.
After taking a job with some big box store companies, including Canadian Tire, to lay out stores across Eastern Canada, she decided to move back to her hometown with her boyfriend.
Dawe then worked with different engineers and contractors, but felt it could be more satisfying.
“I thought I could be doing my own business,” Dawe explained. “I had the niche for it.”
So she left her job to begin Tidy Solutions.
In four years, the company went from 30 house plans in 2010 to 80 in 2012. Details from 2013 were not available. The business was extrapolating quickly, and Dawe loved the challenge.
To date, she has designed over 400 house plans, and actively has 30-40 projects on her plate.
Besides designing house plans, Dawe said she has a talent for seeing in 3D, meaning she can visualize a project through description from a client. This is a benefit when she’s laying out different rooms in a home.
“It makes me happy to hear a client say, ‘That’s it, that’s how I want it,’” Dawe said.
Her business took off after appearing on NTV to demonstrate professional organizing. When she was asked what else she offered, she said house plans.
“When I mentioned house planning, the phone starting ringing off the hook,” she said.
Her business has become so busy she had to hire an assistant, and get a physical office.
The initial plan for the business was to open an office in the basement of her new home that was being built in Bareneed. But that plan came to a halt when a house fire broke out before Dawe and her boyfriend could move in.
She didn’t let it get her down. Instead, she found a space in Clarke’s Beach.
Dawe doesn’t believe the success of her business is just because of the physical attributes she offers her clients. It’s the personal feel of working with the right person to make a dream home happen.
“I always say happiness starts at home,” Dawe said. “It’s the place you go, the place you love to be. I like to help design spaces where people are happy and, when they are there, they feel like they can go and tackle the world.”